The patenting of software related inventions has been a controversial subject for a long time. There is no international consensus regarding the extend to which such inventions can be protected. In Germany and under the European Patent Convention (EPC), a computer program as such is not considered to be an invention. Methods which make use of a technical device (computer) but which solve a non-technical problem are often considered not patentable due to lack of inventive step, as features that do not contribute to the solution of a technical problem are disregarded in the assessment.
Computer implemented inventions which provide a solution to a technical problem are, in principal, patentable. For a software program running on a controller of a plant, the underlying technical problem is in most cases obvious. The situation becomes more difficult if a program has less interaction with real physical components, such as sensors and actuators. Nevertheless, a computer implemented method that processes certain elements on a webpage might for example be patentable if the amount of data that has to be transferred is reduced and the load on the physical data transmission channels is reduced.
Since may years, KKM advices and represents clients successfully in the area of computer implemented inventions. Due to the different approach taken in the US, many European patent applications that originate from US applications might at first sight be considered to address non-technical problems. Bases on their expertise and practical experience, the attorneys at KKM can evaluate and judge the chances of success of such patent application and can further bring the application into a form that optimizes the prospects of patent grant (within the limits of the original disclosure).
KKM has a specialized patent attorney holding an M.Sc. degree in computer science. The expert knowledge allows the attorney to fully capture and understand even complex software inventions and to elaborate a strategy for obtaining patent protection for such type of inventions.